Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Should Have Known - Foo Fighters (2011) - free download available on amazon!

Currently, is offering the track "I Should Have Known" from the new Foo Fighters album "Wasting Light" as a free promotional download. Check it out here. I will probably buy the album eventually, but for now, a little free taste is a good thing.

I'm particularly happy with the track chosen for the promotion. "I Should Have Known" features a guest appearance from Dave Grohl's former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic on bass. The entire album was also produced by Butch Vig - who previously worked with Nirvana, making this track a long-awaited reunion.

In the documentary "Back and Forth" which chronicles the Foo Fighters' 16 year history up to 2011, Dave Grohl reveals that "I Should Have Known" was originally written about someone he was involved with, and that at the end of the day, he should have known how things would eventually end. Near the end of the film, Butch Vig muses that the song may have started that way, but became a way for Grohl to express some of his feelings about Kurt Cobain's suicide on April 5, 1994. While Dave Grohl never explicitly confirms this, he never denies it- and even seems to be ok with that association.

Previously, Dave Grohl went through great lengths to distance himself, and the Foo Fighters from Nirvana- ostensibly out of respect, and a need to succeed on his (and the band's) own merits rather than riding on Nirvana's coattails. I suspect it was as much about avoiding the demons he's been carrying with him as anything else.

The song begins as a mournful dirge, starting with just Dave Grohl's vocals and simple guitar arpeggios. As the tune progresses, more instruments begin to layer into the mix. The middle section moves into a more mid-tempo rock feel, gradually building intensity until Krist Novoselic's raw, punchy bass asserts itself in the last third of the song. The ending of the song intensifies into a grunge/punk style rage worthy of Nirvana's rhythm section.

The lyrics clearly speak of a heavy guilt. In the beginning of the song, that guilt is tempered with sorrow- /I should have known that it would end this way/I should have known there was no other way/Didn’t hear your warning/Damn my heart gone there/. In the middle of the song, the tone is more conflicted- /I should have known/I’ve been here before/I should have known/Don’t want it anymore/One thing is for certain/I’m still standing here/I should have known/.

At the end of the song, the lyrics indicate anger- following the normal pattern seen in most people grieving over a lost loved one. /No I cannot forgive you yet/No I cannot forgive you yet/To leave my heart in debt/I should have known/.

Assuming that the song is really written as a sort of catharsis for both Grohl and Novoselic, I can only imagine how painful Kurt Cobain's death was fro them. I remember back in 1994, I was about to leave to visit a friend, and I heard about it on the radio as soon as I started the engine. I was stunned, even though whatever connection I felt to Cobain through his music could not even begin to compare to the connection Grohl and Novoselic had. I drove around aimlessly for a while, blasting "Nevermind" as loud as I could, thinking that we had just lost a person who really spoke for the angst and uncertainty people in my generation were feeling at the time. It made me think that we had just lost my generation's answer to John Lennon. For me, that sadness wore off quickly- I had no real connection other than as a fan and as a young adult still carrying some of the angst of my late teenage years. These guys lived and breathed those few moments at a thousand times the volume for years.

In my opinion, the song is a way for them to make their peace with their demons, and to say goodbye to a good friend who had a profound impact on their lives and careers. Are they over that grief? Probably not judging from the lyrics and the angry ending. Hopefully they've gained a little closure, and hopefully they'll inspire the rest of us to remember the man, and the music that was such a huge part of our social consciousness back in the early 90s.

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